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31 August 2023
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Ogier has advised Eastcastle Infrastructure on a pivotal US$92 million debt package to substantially enhance digital connectivity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of the least digitally connected countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The new investment debt package, arranged by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), and Standard Bank RDC SA (SB), consists of a US$30 million loan from IFC, an additional US$30 million from EAIF, and a US$32 million debt facility from SB.
The IFC's equity investment in Eastcastle helps to enable its DRC operations to achieve the broader goals of poverty reduction, economic empowerment, and shared prosperity.
The expansion of Eastcastle's telecom tower network will increase digital access, laying the foundation for improving digital skills and spurring entrepreneurial activities among underserved groups. This is particularly impactful for women and youth in the DRC, who now have the opportunity to harness the power of digital tools for educational, healthcare, and business initiatives, thereby promoting social inclusion and economic empowerment.
The Ogier team was led by partner Raulin Amy, supported by senior associate Danny Cole, and associate Mark Watson, collaborating with onshore counsel Norton Rose Fulbright to achieve the successful conclusion of the financing. Clifford Chance advised the IFC and SB on the transaction.
"We're proud to have supported Eastcastle Infrastructure's vision to elevate digital access, fuel economic growth, and boost energy efficiency in the DRC — a mission that dovetails with the IFC's strategy to promote the digital economy and development of digital services in Africa," said Raulin.
The investment aligns with Eastcastle's strategy to expand its telecom tower network and surpass more than 1,000 towers in the DRC, enabling mobile network operators and digital service providers to widen their coverage and reduce operating costs and energy consumption through infrastructure sharing. This is especially crucial in the DRC, where only about 50% of the population has access to mobile services.
Eastcastle Infrastructure is a leading telecom tower operator committed to elevating digital services across sub-Saharan Africa.
The International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in emerging markets.
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